Allium stellatum

Prairie Onion

$3.00 - $15.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

Prairie Onion has narrow, strappy leaves with dangling, paper-covered flower pods.  This behavior is similar to its cousin, Nodding Onion, but by the height of summer, the flowering stem of Allium stellatum pulls itself upright to proudly wave its small flower buds.  These shoot out from the stem in light pink, white, or lavender blooms, bursting open like little stars.  The radiant blossoms persist through the heat of July and August.  As their color fizzles out, the dried structure looks like a faded sparkler in the fall landscape. 

Well-suited to rock gardens and dry-mesic areas like rock outcroppings, Prairie Onion prefers full sun and dry conditions.  The root system consists of a single bulb with deep secondary roots, allowing this plant to easily survive droughts.  It will also thrive in average-to-rich soil conditions, but may need some help mitigating the competition: Prairie Onion does not compete well with tall, aggressive plants.  It is easy to grow from seed but requires patience; it can take several years for a plant to flower.  Once it is established, this plant benefits from regular divisions.

Allium stellatum is edible, although the flavor is considerably wilder and more pungent than its commercialized onion cousins.  This plant has a strong onion-like scent when crushed; this makes it an undesirable food source to most mammals, including deer and rabbits.  Small bees are the main pollinator.

Other common names include: Autumn Onion, Wild Onion, or Cliff Onion.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots
April/May October 1 year

Allium stellatum - Prairie Onion

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

2 Questions asked on Allium stellatum

Does a single barefoot produce a single flower or a cluster of flowers? Does is spread by seeds or rhizomes?
Hi Connie, In general, it takes a native perennial about 3 years to reach maturity and flower. Our Prairie Onion bare roots are 1 year old, and are not guaranteed to bloom their first year of growth after transplanting. It’s possible, but not to be expected. Once it’s ready, it would likely start with a single flower cluster or two, slowly growing bulblet offshoots that would result in a larger grouping of flower clusters over time. If you were looking for a more immediate, fuller look, it would be best to purchase a number of roots and space them at the recommended 4-8” to cover the area. Allium species will also spread by seed.
Why is this species listed as noxious in some states?
The range maps we list on our websites are sourced from BONAP, a non-profit group that does an amazing amount of research to compile such detailed maps – then graciously shares their findings. They comb through historical documentation dating back over 100 years and incorporate current USDA listings to determine the native ranges of plant species. These maps also highlight counties that cite a species as ‘noxious.’ More often than not, native plant species that make the ‘noxious weed’ list are included for agricultural regulations or reasons, although those reasons are not always made apparent. Some states include ALL Alliums on their noxious weed lists – native and non-native, alike.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
14 inches
Bloom Time
July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Deer Resistant
Recommended for home landscaping but potentially aggressive; could overwhelm small landscapes
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code